My Perfect Camera Carrying SystemWith QD


With every camera comes a nice strap, often mentioning the name of the brand. Although the strap works nicely, there are much better solutions. In the last decade, I have found a solution that suits my own needs. Since I often get questions about it, I decided to write an article about it.

There are a few problems with the standard camera strap you receive with a camera. Once fitted, it sits often in the way, and it isn’t that comfortable. The latter is with every camera strap because you carry the weight around your neck. This isn’t a big deal when your camera weighs only a few hundred grams, but if it is over one kilogram, it will put a lot of strain on your neck.

That is when I tried the Op-Tech straps for a couple of reasons. First of all, the neoprene material is stretchable, which should relieve some of the shocks that occur when walking with the camera. But the neoprene part is also detachable, removing the strap almost completely. By connecting the remaining parts I could transform the strap into a hand strap.

The Op-Tech Backpack Connectors

This system worked perfectly for many years and eventually, I used the neoprene part less and less. The hand strap was enough for my needs. Still, when walking for longer distances I wanted something to connect my camera. That’s when stumbled upon the accessory straps by Op-Tech. These Reporter/Backpack system connectors allowed me to connect the camera onto a backpack.

The benefit of this system is the weight distribution. Although I carry my camera similar to a normal neck strap, the weight is supported by the shoulder straps of the backpack. At the same time, it offers a bit of counterweight. I found it to be an ideal solution, making it easy and convenient to carry a big DSLR camera, even with a long and heavy tele lens.

The only problem I had was a way to carry my cameras during weddings. I don’t use a backpack for those occasions, obviously. But I didn’t want to use two cameras with a complete Op-Tech neck strap. I did this once, and I told myself, never again. My solution for carrying a camera during weddings was the Spider Pro holster.

The Spider Pro Holster

One thing I want during weddings is speed. It has to be easy to switch between cameras without the hassle of straps. After an intensive search, I decided to go for the Spider Pro holster. It promised easy access to my cameras, no matter which lens I used.

Switching cameras is easy. Placing a camera on a table for a while was no problem since the camera isn’t connected permanently to the system. I found it a great way to carry my cameras, although the weight on the hips can become heavy after a fourteen-hour wedding. Fortunately, there are always moments when I could lay one camera aside.

There was one issue that sometimes offered a problem. The hand strap from Op-Tech could get stuck sometimes. This gave enough trouble to remove the strap completely from one camera. This way I had only one camera without straps, dedicated for use with the Spider Pro, and with the strap connected for use with a backpack.

But I found a solution for this also. Thanks to the QD system that Really Right Stuff offered for their L-brackets.

The QD System

The QD system is used by NASA, law enforcement agents, and the military. It is a quick Detach system, hence the letters QD, with a low profile. There are no D-rings or other protruding components on the camera necessary. At least, when you use an L-bracket that has a QD connection hole.

The L-brackets by Really Right Stuff have the QD system incorporated. It’s nothing more than a hole in the L-bracket that fits the QD push button swivel. So I decided to attach the Op-Tech strap to a QD push button swivel, which is a sort of DIY solution. This way I could continue using the Op-Tech backpack connectors, while removing every single part of the strap from my camera.

This way I can continue using the Op-Tech system I already used, without the problem of a dangling strap from my camera when I switch over to the Spider Pro holster. 

Recently I decided to change the Spider Pro holster for a carrying harness by The Leather Rebel, similar to the MoneyMaker by Holdfast Gear. The reason I decided to do so was the weight on the hips after a long day wedding photography. The QD system was one of the reasons to try the harness.

I asked The Leather Rebel if it was possible to change the normal D-ring and clip connection for a QD push button swivel. This way I could connect my camera easily, and remove it again without any problems. I have used it a few times now, and I love it. On the plus side, since there is no D-ring attached to the tripod mount, I don’t need the additional security straps. The QD system can rotate freely, so there is no risk of unscrewing itself.

A Complete Carrying System For All My Needs

By combining the Op-Tech backpack system connectors, parts of the regular Op-Tech strap, and the QD system, I have found a perfect way of carrying my camera without the need of adding or removing parts. 

There is only one thing that needs some attention. I encountered one issue with the connector after it was placed in the sand on a beach. Grains of sand can cause the system to malfunction. A bit of oil was enough to get it working again, but it shows it has to be maintained to keep it in good working order.

The QD system is finding its way into camera land, so I have noticed. For instance, BlackRapid straps now have a version with the QD system instead of the regular D-ring clips. Other manufacturers have also started to incorporate a QD attachment in their lens plates and camera plates. The system is still not well known in the Netherlands, but I expect it to become increasingly popular in the next years or so.

What carrying system do you use at this moment? Do you like it? Please let me know in the comments below.


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